Officials in Fowlerville are disputing allegations made by a property owner who claims a decision to give the sole remaining liquor license to another restaurant will sink his plans.

Richard Cheaney recently received land use approval from the village to convert his building at 131 S. Grand Ave. (pictured) into a new seafood and barbecue restaurant. He is currently leasing the building to Dukes Pizza Plus. But he claims that the village council’s February 18th approval of a Class C liquor license for Fowlerville Farms Family Restaurant owner Sam Jishi made his plans untenable. That license is the only one remaining for the village. If Jishi receives approval from the Michigan Liquor Control Commission, Cheaney’s proposed restaurant would have no ability to serve beer, wine and liquor. He says the council granted its approval of the license without considering his plans, even though he claims he made it known he also wanted a license and that village officials never mentioned the scheduled vote on Jishi’s application despite having several email exchanges concerning his plan. But Village Manager and Clerk Kathryn Arledge tells WHMI that Cheaney never actually applied for the license, but instead only indicated verbally that he was interested.

Arledge also says that Cheaney’s location is only 228 feet from a church, despite state regulations mandating a 300 foot minimum distance. Cheaney contends his downtown location would better serve a “struggling” Downtown Business District than Jishi’s location near I-96. However, Arledge maintains that the Liquor Control Commission informed the village that licenses are granted on a first-come first-served basis and that is how they proceeded with this matter. (JM)